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It took him five years, but Mark McGwire has finally come
clean. In just a couple hours time, he
will sit down with Bob Costas of the MLB Network (live on MLB.com)
and fully admit to his steroid
use throughout the 90s; confirming what we’ve all known since well before his ‘pleading
the fifth’ performance in front of congress.
McGwire is widely regarded throughout the baseball annals as
one of the good guys, so it’s good to see that he’s finally admitted to
things. With him being named as the St.
Louis Cardinals hitting coach this past November, it was only a matter of time
before he would have to make a public statement. Thankfully for him, the fans, and all of
baseball that first public statement has been an admission.
The problem of course is that no matter how much he
apologizes, or how much he admits to, he can’t erase the legacy he’s left on
the game. McGwire was undoubtedly one of
the most prolific power hitters of all time, and we all know why. That’s not to say he wouldn’t have been
prolific without the steroids, but we’ll never know.
So now that he’s admitted to things, does he get into the
Hall of Fame? He shouldn’t. After all, he was still a cheater; admittedly
So yeah. Sort of lost initiative to write here over the summer. I’ve had a bitter-sweet one so far. On a personal level, one massive bitter pill: My mom has fallen ill. This is likely the single largest reason I haven’t been writing here. She’s mostly okay now; let’s hope she gets better.
On the sweet side, I went on tour for 2 weeks in July across Southern Ontario and Québec. It was fantastic. No new album yet…but soon. I actually have two in the works.
Again on the sweet side. I have cats. Two of them. I grew up with cats and haven’t had any pets at all since I moved out of my parents house almost 7 years ago. Well now 9 month olds Timbre (pronounced Tamber) and Cappella are here and I couldn’t be happier about it. Timbre is currently between me and the keyboard, making this just a little more difficult than it otherwise would be. But that, my friends, is the beauty of cats.
On the baseball side, it has also been bitter-sweet for my Jays, and indeed for Major League Baseball as a whole.
For the Jays…
- The rocket fell to the ground: After the fantastic start that had just starting making even the most pessimistic of Jays fans (such as myself) believe that maybe they could contend with the behemoths in the AL East, the Jays fell back down to earth…hard. Yes, it was expected. I mean, when you have the amount of pitching injuries that the Jays have, you aren’t going to remain hot for long. Deep down all of us Jays fans knew that the bats would eventually cool off and the young, unexpectedly good pitching would too. I picked the Jays to finish 4th in the AL East this year with a 78-84 record. It would appear that that is about where they’re headed. Another season of mediocrity.
- The Doctor and the GM that couldn’t: One thing I haven’t commented on is the whole Roy Halladay trade rumour business. I mentioned in an earlier entry that if the jays eventually fell out of contention that J.P. Riccardi should look into trading the ace. With a year left on his contract, the returns would be astronomical. Well, the Jays DID fall out of contention, and J.P. DID look into trading him, but could not. My problem is not with the fact that the Jays brass considered trading their long-time ace, but how it was handled. J.P. Riccardi went entirely too public with this whole thing. It became a HUGE distraction to Halladay and his teammates, which is really unfair. Does Roy deserve to be traded to a place where he could win a World Series? Absolutely! Does he deserve to be given the run-around right as he’s preparing to start the All-Star Game and preparing for the stretch run? Absolutely not!
Not only that, but J.P. threw Roy under the bus by going public in saying that he had indicated he wasn’t going to come back after 2010. Given that Halladay is such a class act and has done nothing but praise the city of Toronto and the fans, was it really fair to announce something that could potentially turn the fans against him? I mean, come on J.P. Luckily, Jays fans have a head about them and they don’t blame Roy for considering another team to try and win on. I mean, the Jays aren’t going to be World Series contenders any time soon. Not with bone-head in charge anyway. The problem here is that J.P. like to be the star of his own melodrama and he doesn’t much like being a mediocre GM in a middle-market city such as Toronto. Please Blue Jays…fire numbnuts before he does something really stupid: Like trade Roy Halladay for a package of peanuts and a Heathcliff Slocumb trading card.
- Vernon Wells and Alex Rios: What can I say here. These guys just plain haven’t delivered. Rios has always been a good hitter, but I’m not sure he ever really warranted all this “star-player” talk. I mean he’s never been much more than a decent player, capable of some great hot streaks. As for Wells, I don’t know what to say. I did notice that he dropped a lot of weight and his bat-speed seems to have decreased considerably. With all the recent talk about steroids; I wouldn’t be totally surprised. Remember how quickly Wells used to be able to come back from fairly severe injuries? Isn’t that one of the wonders of PEDs? Forgive me for being pessimistic, but I think we all have a right to be these days.
- B.J. Blown-Save: We saw this one coming, didn’t we? Of course B.J. Ryan was awful this year. Of course his velocity was down. Like Wells, Ryan looked CONSIDERABLY smaller than he had in past years, and although he’s never lit up the radar gun, Ryan’s velocity was curiously down from 88-91 mph to 84-86 mph. Hmmm…I wonder what could have happened. Probably the best move J.P. has made in recent years was releasing him when he did.
- King Hill: Everyone in Toronto has known how good Aaron Hill is for years now. But the outside baseball world is just now figuring it out. Even the proverbial psychics of the game, Baseball Prospectus, seemed to be completely misguided about the Jays star second baseman, “there’s no telling where he’ll pick up, now that he’s a year removed from his 2007 power surge. Sometimes a lost season can completely derail a player’s progress, particularly when that player was a late-bloomer to begin with.”
First of all, how is Hill a late bloomer? He was a 1st round draft pick and was in the majors within two years after solid minor-league numbers. Secondly, Hill was projected by the Prospectus to hit .260 with 8 HR and 50 RBI. Currently, with two months left in the season, Hill is sitting at a .291 average with 26 HR and 76 RBI. Yeah…WRONG!!! Hill has become the franchise player this team needs for the long-term future. I like him…even if he is a Republican.
- Adam Lind: Cito was right when he said this kid could hit and would eventually become a 30 homer guy. Lind has put up a fantastic year and has become a true power and average threat. I can’t wait to see where his ceiling is.
- The Doctor: Whether or not he’s Jay for much past the end of this season, Roy Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball. He proves it every time he take the mound. Now that the distraction of almost being traded is behind him for now, Roy can get on with winning his second Cy Young Award. Enjoy it while we have it Jays fans.
Major League Baseball has definitely seen its ups and downs this year as well. The Ups: Buehrle’s perfect game, the myriad of cycles being hit, Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter, and Bronson Arroyo’s plain admission to using PEDs in the early 2000s, something more players should do. The Downs: Manny and David Ortiz and steroids. It’s getting to the point where players who were/are clean have the burden to prove their innocence. No one is clean until proven that way. Thats the bed Major League players have made for themselves, they must now lay in it. No more excuses. And if you are naive enough to believe that steroids are out of the game, than be sure write that list to Santa Claus, because Christmas is less than half a year
away. I say from now on, if you get caught…full season suspension. If you get caught again…lifetime ban.
I’ve been hesitant to do it because in the past I have believed that we need to give players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to steroid use, but now, after all of this crap, I will be making a list of players who I suspect were or are on steroids who have yet to be caught. Stay tuned.
It doesn’t make me angry, it doesn’t
make me apathetic, it just makes me sad.
Football players use steroids like they’re Tylenol and no one cares because
it’s a game for giants; it’s a game for behemoths. I watch football like
a drug between the months of September and February and I just fail to care
that the players use steroids because it’s so important for football players to
be ridiculous physical specimens. That’s not to say that I don’t think
it’s wrong for football players to use steroids, but it’s just not something
that taints the game for me.
But baseball? Baseball is an amazing game because of it’s appeal to
anyone. It takes skill, intelligence, grace; it’s the thinker’s
sport. Athletic ability is no doubt important and the truly great
players all possess an astounding amount of it. But it takes more than
just that. It takes a brain. Many players have walked into the
spotlight of some of the great parks such as Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and
used almost nothing but their intelligence to dominate their opponent.
Greg Maddux, Ted Williams, Nolan Ryan, Tony Gwynn…these are some of the most
intelligent athletes on the planet.
I hear people all over baseball saying how great Alex Rodriguez is and how much
he loves baseball. He watches it all the time and never stops thinking
about it. That may be true, but he doesn’t love baseball.
If these allegations are true (and I think it’s important to acknowledge that
are just allegations, and they have not yet been proven true beyond any doubt),
then Alex Rodriguez doesn’t
love the game. If these allegations are true,
Alex Rodriguez merely thinks of baseball as a way to make himself look good; a
way to feed his ego. If these allegations are true, Alex Rodriguez sees
baseball as his ATM. He loves it only as much as it gives him the
benefits he has come to enjoy.
Another important thing to remember is that Rodriguez is not alone. Too
many players have come
to view baseball in this way; as their ATM, ready to spew out cash at the press
of a button, or the hitting of a ball.
In a way, you can’t even blame him…or anyone. This is the society we
live in. Do anything to get an edge over your opponent; it’s the mantra
of capitalism; of the so-called “American dream.” It’s just sad
that it has seeped into something that should be immune from all the bull-****
in society. It has tainted baseball.
History will no doubt show us, however, that the game is bigger than these
small, selfish issues. Baseball will prevail and it will move past the
steroid era and be better for it. It should not forget this dark moment;
just like it will not forget the 1919 White Sox…or Pete Rose, but it will
move past it. It will continue to provide us fans, and society, with a
reminder of just how great it truly is.
No one, not even the great Alex Rodriguez can ruin that integrity.
Apparently A-Rod tested positive for steroids in ’03.
Now I’ve never been the biggest A-Rod fan. I find him to be kind of a baby. A spoiled baby. If you remember, he once yelled at a Blue Jays third baseman while rounding third a couple years ago pretending to be the short stop, causing said third baseman to back off the ball and let it drop on the infield. The ensuing fights between the Jays and Yanks continued for almost a year. He’s an ***.
Having said that, he has ability as a baseball player that I have simply never seen before. He’s probably the best hitter of all time and there are no real glaring holes in his game (except maybe World Series batting average). Curt Schilling once said (and I think it was around the ’03 or ’04 season) that he was utterly disappointed by the use of steroids in the game and went on to praise A-Rod as being one of the true “freak” talents because he put up these numbers without the use of steroids. WRONG.
Now I don’t want to jump to conclusions about his use but he certainly didn’t deny it when he was approached by reporters in a Miami gym.
“You’ll have to talk to the union…I’m not saying anything.” Sounds fishy. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now…but I’ve been hurt before.
I really wish these jackasses would just stop with the performance-enhancing drugs already. I don’t advocate the asterisks in the record book…what’s done is done, but just come clean and stop it already. You’re ruining the best sport on the planet.
What’s really dumb is that I’m sure almost every fan would forgive each and every ‘roid user if they’d just admit to what they did and stopped. Too much to ask, I know.